Catalogue


Southern rights : political prisoners and the myth of Confederate constitutionalism /
Mark E. Neely, Jr.
imprint
Charlottesville, VA : University Press of Virginia, c1999.
description
vii, 212 p.
ISBN
0813918944 (cloth : alk. paper)
format(s)
Book
Holdings
More Details
series title
imprint
Charlottesville, VA : University Press of Virginia, c1999.
isbn
0813918944 (cloth : alk. paper)
catalogue key
3394019
 
Includes bibliographical references and index.
A Look Inside
About the Author
Author Affiliation
Mark E. Neely Jr. is McCabe-Greer Professor of Civil War History at the Pennsylvania State University
Full Text Reviews
Appeared in Choice on 2000-05-01:
Taking dead aim at what he calls the myth of Confederate tolerance for internal dissent and respect for constitutional safeguards for political speech, Neely offers a companion volume to his earlier Pulitzer Prize-winning The Fate of Liberty: Abraham Lincoln and Civil Liberties (CH, Jul'91). He argues that authorities moved swiftly and energetically to quash dissent within Confederate boundaries; the majority of Confederate citizens accepted these rigorous, repressive measures as a necessary price to pay to silence discordant voices and curtail more ominous signs of Southern disharmony. Based on the innovative use of archival records, Neely's narrative sheds much-needed light on the issue of Confederate civil liberties. He makes something of a straw man of Lost Cause mythology, which denied such repression; students of the conflict are aware of the measures taken to curb Unionist activity within the Confederacy. Nevertheless, his study offers the most careful documentation extant of such practices and their implications, adding new evidence to the argument that the Confederacy found itself forced to adopt the same centralizing practices it denounced in its opponent in an effort to secure its independence. Graduate, faculty. B. D. Simpson; Arizona State University
Reviews
Review Quotes
"Mark Neely's Southern Rights is a work of major significance that revises many traditional views about civil liberties in the Confederacy. By carefully analyzing the previously ignored arrest records of more than 4,000 political prisoners in the Confederacy, Neely demonstrates that in crucial ways the regulation of dissent was simultaneously more sweeping and less controversial in the Confederacy than in the Union, and in theprocess effectively calls into question the standard paeans to Confederate constitutionalism. Neely's careful scholarship reveals how little we knew previously about the formulation of Confederate policy on this issue or how Confederate laws and policies were actually enforced at the local level. This is a stimulating and provocative work that asks new questions, challenges many reigning beliefs about southern society and values, and points Confederate scholarship in new directions. With implications far beyond its particular subject, Southern Rights is one of the most original and important books on the Confederacy ever published." -- William E. Gienapp, Harvard University
Mark Neely's Southern Rights is a work of major significance that revises many traditional views about civil liberties in the Confederacy. By carefully analyzing the previously ignored arrest records of more than 4,000 political prisoners in the Confederacy, Neely demonstrates that in crucial ways the regulation of dissent was simultaneously more sweeping and less controversial in the Confederacy than in the Union, and in theprocess effectively calls into question the standard paeans to Confederate constitutionalism. Neely's careful scholarship reveals how little we knew previously about the formulation of Confederate policy on this issue or how Confederate laws and policies were actually enforced at the local level. This is a stimulating and provocative work that asks new questions, challenges many reigning beliefs about southern society and values, and points Confederate scholarship in new directions. With implications far beyond its particular subject, Southern Rights is one of the most original and important books on the Confederacy ever published.
This item was reviewed in:
Choice, May 2000
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Summaries
Unpaid Annotation
Neely (Civil War history, Pennsylvania State University) undermines the common conception that Jefferson Davis and the Confederates were scrupulous in their respect for constitutional rights regarding political prisoners. He reveals for the first time the repression of Unionists and other civilians in the Confederacy and uncovers evidence that Southerners were as ready to give up civil liberties as their Northern counterparts in response to threats of wartime.
Publisher Fact Sheet
Based on the discovery of records of over four thousand Confederate prisoners, this Pulitzer Prize-winning historian's new book undermines the common understanding that Jefferson Davis & the Confederates were scrupulous in their respect for constitutional rights while Lincoln & the Unionists regularly violated the rights of dissenters. The author reveals for the first time the extent of repression of Unionists & other civilians in the Confederacy & uncovers convincing evidence that Southerners were as ready as their Northern counterparts to give up civil liberties in response to the real or imagined threats of wartime.
Main Description
On the day Fort Sumter surrendered to Confederate authorities, General Braxton Bragg reacted to a newspaper report that might have revealed the position of gun emplacements by placing the correspondent, a Southern loyalist, under arrest. Thus the Confederate army's first detention of a citizen occurred before President Lincoln had even called out troops to suppress the rebellion. During the civil war that followed, not a day would pass when Confederate military prisons did not contain political prisoners. Based on the discovery of records of over four thousand of these prisoners, Mark E. Neely Jr.'s new book undermines the common understanding that Jefferson Davis and the Confederates were scrupulous in their respect for constitutional rights while Lincoln and the Unionists regularly violated the rights of dissenters. Neely reveals for the first time the extent of repression of Unionists and other civilians in the Confederacy, and uncovers and marshals convincing evidence that Southerners were as ready as their Northern counterparts to give up civil liberties in response to the real or imagined threats of wartime. From the onset of hostilities, the exploits of drunken recruits prompted communities from Selma to Lynchburg to beg the Richmond government to impose martial law. Southern citizens resigned themselves to a passport system for domestic travel similar to the system of passes imposed on enslaved and free blacks before the war. These restrictive measures made commerce difficult and constrained religious activity. As one Virginian complained, "This struggle was begun in defence of Constitutional Liberty which we could not get in the United States." The Davis administration countered that the passport system was essential to prevent desertion from the army, and most Southerners accepted the passports as a necessary inconvenience, ignoring the irony that the necessities of national mobilization had changed their government from a states'-rights confederacy to a powerful, centralized authority. After the war the records of men imprisoned by this authority were lost through a combination of happenstance and deliberate obfuscation. Their discovery and subtle interpretation by a Pulitzer Prize&e-winning historian explodes one of the remaining myths of Lost Cause historiography, revealing Jefferson Davis as a calculated manipulator of the symbols of liberty.
Main Description
On the day Fort Sumter surrendered to Confederate authorities, General Braxton Bragg reacted to a newspaper report that might have revealed the position of gun emplacements by placing the correspondent, a Southern loyalist, under arrest. Thus the Confederate army's first detention of a citizen occurred before President Lincoln had even called out troops to suppress the rebellion. During the civil war that followed, not a day would pass when Confederate military prisons did not contain political prisoners.Based on the discovery of records of over four thousand of these prisoners, Mark E. Neely Jr.'s new book undermines the common understanding that Jefferson Davis and the Confederates were scrupulous in their respect for constitutional rights while Lincoln and the Unionists regularly violated the rights of dissenters. Neely reveals for the first time the extent of repression of Unionists and other civilians in the Confederacy, and uncovers and marshals convincing evidence that Southerners were as ready as their Northern counterparts to give up civil liberties in response to the real or imagined threats of wartime.From the onset of hostilities, the exploits of drunken recruits prompted communities from Selma to Lynchburg to beg the Richmond government to impose martial law. Southern citizens resigned themselves to a passport system for domestic travel similar to the system of passes imposed on enslaved and free blacks before the war. These restrictive measures made commerce difficult and constrained religious activity. As one Virginian complained, "This struggle was begun in defence of Constitutional Liberty which we could not get in the United States." The Davis administration countered that the passport system was essential to prevent desertion from the army, and most Southerners accepted the passports as a necessary inconvenience, ignoring the irony that the necessities of national mobilization had changed their government from a states'-rights confederacy to a powerful, centralized authority.After the war the records of men imprisoned by this authority were lost through a combination of happenstance and deliberate obfuscation. Their discovery and subtle interpretation by a Pulitzer Prizee-winning historian explodes one of the remaining myths of Lost Cause historiography, revealing Jefferson Davis as a calculated manipulator of the symbols of liberty.
Table of Contents
Acknowledgmentsp. vii
Introductionp. 1
Liberty and Orderp. 7
The Rogue Tyrant and the Premodern Statep. 11
Alcohol and Martial Law: the Problem of Order in the Confederacyp. 29
The Confederate Bench and Barp. 43
Liberty and the Bar of the Confederacyp. 47
"Unaffected by ... the Condition of Our Country": the Peculiar Jurisprudence of Richmond M. Pearsonp. 64
Ghosts of the Dead Habeas Corpus: the Habeas Corpus Commissionersp. 80
Dissentp. 99
The Politics of Pastoralism in East Tennesseep. 103
Persistent Unionism in Western Virginia and North Carolinap. 118
A Provincial Society at War: Civil Liberties in "the Other Confederacy"p. 134
Jefferson Davis and Historyp. 151
Jefferson Davis and the Writ of Habeas Corpusp. 153
Conclusion: the Paradox of Confederate Historiographyp. 168
Notesp. 175
Index of Political Prisonersp. 205
General Indexp. 207
Table of Contents provided by Syndetics. All Rights Reserved.

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